When I was little, I had a doll.
Her name was Patty Plays-a-Lot. I liked that because my name was Patty too. She had a string in her back that made her giggle when you pulled it.
My mom got her for me secondhand at an estate sale. We weren't a super well-off family, so a lot of my toys came from garage sales or from thrift stores and such.
Anyway, I loved Patty. My mom said that the original owner loved her too, that Patty was a very special doll. She had a special place in the previous family, the man at the sale told her.
Me and Patty used to play together all the time. We would have tea parties and gossip about all my other toys. She especially loved the swings. She told me that she wanted to always go higher and higher, because what she wanted most was to get to the 'high place'.
Even though she loved the swings, she would always be sad after getting off them, because she could never get to the 'high place.' She would cry and cry until I convinced her to play a different game with me.
When I went off to college, Patty got put away in storage, and as I grew into adulthood, I forgot about her. I moved away, and she stayed behind at home.
Eventually, my mother passed away. She'd had a fatal heart attack. I returned home to sort through her belongings and determine what to do with it all. In my rummaging, I found Patty again. Time had not been kind to her in her moth-eaten box. She was battered and broken, and her fabric was torn in several places. The smile that had graced her face for so long looked menacing now.
"I'm so sorry, Patty! I can't believe I forgot you!" I cradled her in my arms and brought her to my old room upstairs. I laid her delicately on the bed, in the middle of a pile of cushions. Patting her affectionately, I turned around and went back out to finish up the work that still needed doing.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted both physically and emotionally from sorting, packing, and throwing away so many things. I missed my mother so dearly, and I hadn't had proper time to grieve because of all of this work.
I clambered my way back up the stairs to my old bedroom and threw myself down on the bed. About to fall asleep, I suddenly noticed that Patty was missing. Frantically, I shot up, thinking I'd accidentally thrown her away. I got up and searched under the bed and through the drawers. Exasperated, I sat back down on the bed, wondering where she was.
Distraught, I almost didn't hear the floorboards creaking in the hallway.
I looked up, startled. It was probably the wind. Still, I went to go make sure. The hallway was dark. I didn't notice that the sun was almost gone. I sighed, damning my nerves for playing tricks on me.
Then I heard the giggling.
It was coming from my mother's room.
Now I was officially freaked out. I went back into my room and grabbed my baseball bat. I didn't know what was going on, and I didn't want to be caught off-guard. Raising the bat, I headed down the hallway to my mother's room.
Sitting on the floor, her back against the footboard, was Patty. I relaxed. I must've dropped her in here when I was sorting through Mom's stuff. She was still giggling. I figured the noisebox in her had finally broken and was just looping now.
I stepped further into the room and stooped to pick her up and froze.
She wasn't smiling anymore. She was snarling at me. I stepped back, creeped out. I thought maybe I was dreaming. I had to be.
"This is where I killed her." said a small, girlish voice with a hard edge to it. It was Patty. Her mouth was moving, she stood up. "This is where I'm going to kill you." I screamed, and stepped backwards to get away, tripped on the hallway carpet.
"You left me in a box. Why did you leave me in a box, Patty? I'm all tattered and bruised. I need a new skin. I need a new skin, just like I got from the last girl."
"I need a new skin, Patty." She started moving towards me, dragging a scissors. I tried scrambling away, but it felt like I was being held down by huge weights. I tried t oscream again, but my tounge got stuck.
She started cutting.
"I NEED A NEW SKIN, PATTY."